Monday, February 28, 2011

Sharing Made Easy: Transferbigfiles, DropSend, and Minus

Ever need to share files with other people? Well, here are 3 easy to use websites that can make it happen for you.
1. Transferbigfiles - This website allows you to send large files via email for free! Simply head over to the website and sign up for a free account. You upload your file, maximum 100Mb with the free account, and type in the email address(es) of the people you wish to send the file to. Recipients get an email containing a link to download your file that is active for 5 days. The free account also comes with 1GB of online storage.

2. DropSend - Similar to Transferbigfiles, DropSend allows you to send even LARGER files, up to 2Gb for free! However, with DropSend you are limited to 5 file sends per month, each with a 10 download limit and only 1 email recipient. A bonus with this site is that your file is stored as long as you like and you have 250Mb of online storage.

3. Minus - Minus is much simpler than both Transferbigfiles and Dropsend, but is meant for smaller files (10 Mb per file). With Minus, you simply drag and drop your files onto the screen and they are uploaded into a gallery. When pictures are uploaded, they are displayed as a gallery that you can navigate through. In the near future, Minus is working on adding a document reader and music player. Instead of sending an email to others, Minus gives you a URL that people can use to access your gallery. Each gallery can have a maximum of 50 items, but there is no limit on the amount of galleries a person could make. Click here to view my first Minus gallery.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Public is the New Default

Has social media like Twitter and Facebook affected us in a good way or in a bad way? While this is up for debate, one thing is certain. Social media has changed society. It has clearly re-shaped the way we interact with others and has also helped our social circles transcend both time and distance. Do I really want to know what my grade 2 classmate is up to now?

The biggest effect that social media has had is just beginning to emerge and define itself - the changes to personal privacy boundaries. As we have begun to grasp the idea that anything posted on the Internet instantly becomes permanent (and in many cases the property of the hosting site), questions about our personal privacy (and property) have arisen. Do I really want all of my personal pictures to become a part of public record? Is it safe to "check in" to locations (via Foursquare and Facebook Places) to let people know my whereabouts at all times?

In the past, we led our lives in private, choosing what details of our lives we wanted to make public. With the evolution of social media, our lives are now public and we must choose what details we want to be private. Take, for instance, Facebook's current privacy settings. By default your personal information and images can be shared with others without your consent. You must actually modify those settings to protect and control your own information. Twitter is another example of how public our lives are. The US Library of Congress is digitally cataloging every public tweet since Twitter began.

I'm a huge fan of transparency, probably because I work in education, so the idea of having a public persona is not a big deal to me. I have nothing to hide (at least nothing I'll admit to). As an educator, we're held to a higher standard anyway (debate the validity of this amongst yourselves), so to me there is no difference between being "out in public" and being "online in public." Educators have a great understanding of the fine line between public and private because it is a regular topic of thought. This makes us perfect candidates for educating students on the subject, but I'll save that for another day.

Am I advocating shutting down your Twitter and Facebook accounts, banishing social media from your life? Absolutely not! I want to see the pictures you took on your trip to Romania last summer because I probably will never get to go there myself. I want to read those philosophical Tweets you come up with in the wee hours of the morning.

I say embrace social media and extend your social network, while remaining cognizant of which aspects of your life you're comfortable becoming permanently public. Worried about the negative? Be proactive with your digital footprint so people only find the positive.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Posterous: Blogging by Email

It's a blog, website, and an efficient vehicle for publishing material to multiple sites in one quick step.

Besides using Posterous as your own blog or website, there are some great applications for the classroom. A Posterous site could be used as a class blog or website to highlight or archive classroom activities.

It would also be a great way for students to share their creations. By adding student email addresses to the Posterous site (creating a collaborative blog), students can quickly share their learning with the public.

The sign up process is extremely quick, you can customize the look of your page, and posting is incredibly easy. You simply send an email! If you want to include a youtube video, simply add the video URL into the email, and Posterous will recognize it. For any other file types (pictures or mp3s) just attach them to the email and it will be added to your post.

Here is a link to my Posterous site where I created and published this post.